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TV Tuner Card for Cable & XP

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May 16, 2009 4:28:28 AM

Looking for a TV Tuner Card for PCI or PCIex1 expansion slot that will receive and record HD for a 1080p Monitor. Major problem seems to be that I have to use Windows XP pro. Plus I'd like to have a remote. It seems that some of the cards work (sort of) on XP, but the remotes don't?

I have basic cable with no converter box.

Which model do you think will work best with the least hassels given these specs?

More about : tuner card cable

May 16, 2009 6:19:17 PM

Thank you for the recommendation. However, I don't understand how you can effectively use these great DVR type features across a room without a remote or without pulling out the keyboard and mouse. Since I have never used a tv tuner in a computer, it is difficult for me to understand how it fuctions in a user friendly way.

I'm a bit confused about digital cable signals versus HD signals that are now available on many channels in addition to the digital. Not too interested in analog since there are vertually no remaing analog stations here in South Florida.

At this time, I'd simply like to hook up my cable service without a converter box to get the basic cable channels and be able to use the DVR type features availabe in the TV tuner card. I'd love to get the best tuner for XP Pro that works well with digital cable and that has HD compatability for stations/programs that will work/enhance a new HD 1080p monitor.

Seems like the variouos tuner software working on XP can be an issue. So what's the best tuner with the least buggy software on XP pro that has a remote??? Is that too big of a wish list? Do I have to compromise?

I was looking at the Visiontek TV Wonder HD 650 HDTV Tuner. Any thougts?
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a b x TV
May 18, 2009 1:51:38 AM

I was just saying what I'm using with Windows XP Media Center Edition. The full package of that TV Tuner Card (found here) does come with a remote control. In addition to the TV Tuner Card linked above, I also have this remote control and this keyboard which make for easy control of the system. However, I do not believe these will work on just a standard XP system.

Since you're running just Windows XP, you're probably going to want to get a TV Tuner card that accepts QAM signals (signals sent from your cable company without encryption) and some third party TV Tuner Software like MythTV or Beyond TV.

Concerning the VisionTek TV Wonder HD 650, I read one review that stated the card does not accept QAM channels in XP, so you'll probably want to pass on that card. Other cards that I've seen recommended here include the Hauppauge WinTV 2250 and the WinTV 1800.

-Wolf sends
May 18, 2009 5:04:22 PM

Hi again:

Thank you for your thoughtful response. This seems like a never ending learning curve.

I too looked at the Hauppauge WinTV tuners and heard the 1600 and 1800 were good. I also received a recommendation for AverTV Combo TV/Digital & Video Capture that has a Windows Media Center kit. The rep at Tiger Direct said this Aver - their # (A46-4114) was the one??? He said I could use the provided upgrade to Media Center and it would not effect any of my XP software (ACT, QuickBooks Pro, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office Pro, etc.) Is this true? Is it a good idea to install the Media Center.

It just seems to get more complicated the more I learn. Is there a simple HDTV turner card that deals with basic cable that doesn't require Vista, has a remote, it would be nice to have the FM radio, but that I can do without? From what I am learning, it sounds like the computer/TV thing is way behind the general tv technology, especially in price.
a b x TV
May 18, 2009 8:17:24 PM

Not sure what the Tiger Direct Rep was thinking. Their offer does NOT include an operating system upgrade. It's possible s/he was referring to the "Media Center Upgrade Kit", which is just the remote control and the receiver, but you would still need Windows XP MCE or Windows Vista Home Premium/Ultimate.

I'd probably recommend you go with this Hauppauge WinTV-1600. It has a remote control and using the WinTV v6 software package removes the need for a Media Center specific operating system.

-Wolf sends
June 15, 2009 12:37:45 AM

This Aver Media A46-4114 mentioned above is one that I'm looking at.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...
109 @ Tiger Direct

Other model I'm looking at ( with no Remote )
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$59 @ Newegg

Does anybody know how many channels the tuner will display. I'm tryng to figure ?
* if I want the remote to control the tuner with a direct from the Comcast line - or
* if I want to go the route of running my output from my cable box as the tuner - and just route it through my PC - hence no need for a remote?

If anybody has this model - and can tell me how high the channels go - from in this TV Tuner card, It would be very helpful in choosing which card I would purchase.

Thanks

a b x TV
June 15, 2009 5:26:26 PM

If the input comes from the Cable box, you'll get however many channels you subscribe to (this is how I have it set up). I used to have a non-HD cable box that the remote control (and IR Blaster) worked with, but since upgrading to an HD capable cable box, the remote no longer works with it.

I have another TV Tuner card (ATI All-In-Wonder X1800XL) hooked up with a direct feed from the cable outlet and I get about 50-60 channels (lots of public access); up to channel 99. I Think the tuner actually goes to channel 124 or 125, but Comcast only sends certain channels in the clear.

Also, Newegg has the same TV Tuner for less:

AverMedia TV Tuner with Remote - $95.99
AverMedia TV Tuner whitebox (no remote) - $84.99

Also there are Open Box entries for each of these for even less, but you never know what's been removed from the box (if anything).

-Wolf sends
June 15, 2009 6:03:09 PM

Thanks for the feedback.

That answers the biggest questions I've had. I'd want to be able to view the higher channels - so probably will go with the Cable box output.

One other I was trying to understand ( was probably indirectly answered in your last post ). Does a High Def signal come on your Computer when running from a coaxial output on your cable box?

I've read this past weekend that cable companies send High Def signals to cable boxes in compressed form - and the Cable box uncompresses the file. High def TV's take a HDMI - or 3 separate colored wires to get high def picture.

Does this mean I won't get any high def picture from the Coaxial output to my computer - b/c the cable isn't capable of carrying such a signal. If so - I suppose I can run a High Def signal to my PC direct for a sports game when I need a high def signal. But if I can get it through one coaxial input - that would be a BIG BONUS !!!! :bounce: 
a b x TV
June 15, 2009 10:38:59 PM

To be perfectly honest, I don't know.

While I can get an image from an HD channel by going through the cable box --> TV Tuner --> Monitor/HDTV, I can't say for sure that it's an HD image.

-Wolf shrugs
June 15, 2009 11:45:24 PM

Wolfshadw said:
To be perfectly honest, I don't know.

While I can get an image from an HD channel by going through the cable box --> TV Tuner --> Monitor/HDTV, I can't say for sure that it's an HD image.

-Wolf shrugs


Does the HD picture on your Monitor ( assuming it's widescreen in 2000? ) display differently with the HD TV channels vs the standard Def channels - or do both fill the entire screen - or part of the screen?

i.e. When I watch a HD channel on a Standard Def TV - the standard Def programs broadcast in a square- the pic fills the entire Television screen / while the HD channels will appear with a black bar on the top and bottom of the screen to fit on the standard picture tube.

Is there any difference in viewing between the HD and Standard Def channels?
a b x TV
June 16, 2009 4:13:03 AM

Yes, it's different. When watching direct from the cable box to the TV the HD channels fills the whole screen. When watching through the TV Tuner, I have black bars on top and below. For the record, I display on a 32" HDTV @ 1280x724 (matches my projector max display in clone mode). When watching standard def TV, it displays the same going either way.

Also, when viewing an HD Channel through the TV Tuner, I get the ghosting effect. I don't get that when watching a standard def channel. There's some mention of alleviating the ghosting through a registry modification, but so far, those only mention older (X1xxx generation) cards. Not sure if my HD2600 Pro suffers from the same.

-Wolf sends
June 16, 2009 5:21:02 AM

Cable box to standard tuner will not give you HD.

If you want HD to your tuner you need the tuner to support QAM channels, but they need to be unencrypted and those are getting rarer in the HD realm, depends on your cable provider as to what is open & available via QAM.

Another option for HD is the external Hauppauge HD PVR 1212 ;.
http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html

PS, the ATi 650 does tune QAM channels in XP but you have to manually tune them in. But hey, it's not like it's just them with issues;
http://www.hdtvtunerinfo.com/vistahdtvinstall.html

As a long time user of both, they're both good and usable, just find the one that fits your need better, I replaced my 650USB with the HVR-1500 because I find it a better laptop fit, not because of the brand sticker on it.

Even after you pick one, I can guarantee for something you want to do you'll likely find a 3rd part software that will do it better or right.
June 16, 2009 3:03:02 PM

Wolfshadw said:
Yes, it's different. When watching direct from the cable box to the TV the HD channels fills the whole screen. When watching through the TV Tuner, I have black bars on top and below. For the record, I display on a 32" HDTV @ 1280x724 (matches my projector max display in clone mode). When watching standard def TV, it displays the same going either way.



Thanks,

Sounds like if I want to watch a program intrue HD - I will need to use the HDMI connector - rather than video card.

I appreciate the feedback. Will help to better choose the Video card I settle on. I'm less concerned about HD option now in my video card - b/c I'm not using a High Def outside antenna.
July 7, 2009 2:56:20 AM

I have a question about CableCARD compliant tv tuners. It seems that to be able to receive "higher" channels (HBO, ESPN, etc) you need this compliance, however, the only card I've seen that can convert digital cable input is the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner. This card only works with Vista - anyone know of one that works with XP?

For the record, I just got the HVR-1600 and you must use an over the air antenna for HD, or output from a STB. It won't decrypt digital cable signal from Verizon Fios.
November 16, 2009 7:21:16 PM

I was just wondering about this very same subject today.

I have an MSI 845 Ultra (Ver1) so my MoBo is already 8 years old, but it still runs like a champ, so what I wanted to do was take it into the living room and use it as my media center. I bought a card reader with front USB front port (USB 1.1 is all my MoBo can do) and I am planning on using that front port for my wireless keyboard & mouse from the couch.

I'm happy enough with what I have to work with now, since I already have a large collection of music/movies/TV shows on my HDD, but it would be nice to also be able to decode, watch and record TV with my PC via my coax CATV (No Convertor Box, but I do have a cable internet subscription which should work)

Does anybody have any suggestions?

Should I buy a card? If so, which one?

Should I just get software? What kind? features?

Or should I get both?

On Neither?

Any help will be appreciated!

Thanks,
Chip
November 23, 2009 10:59:02 PM

I did some searching on Pricegrabber and I was able to boil it down to 14 matches. There were no filter options for a remote or for XP Pro though. But I do PCI or PCIeX1 and HDTV as filters.

Click here for Pricegrabber list.

I really think you should look into upgrading your OS. Either to Media Center or Windows 7. I did some quick poking around and found a couple options.

Windows XP Media Center $119

Windows 7 Home $184
!